30 May 2010- Thassos, Greece
Seminar of Traditional Dances with Babis Almpantis
In the last week of May I took a little vacation to be a participant for once, in the annual seminar of Greek traditional dances led by Babis Almpantis and Dimitris Pashalides on the lovely island of Thassos. I had been very impressed by 'O Kyklos tis Zois', the beautiful and moving performance by Babis' and Dimitris' dance groups in Ettlingen Concert Hall in February. Their choice of authentic village dances and songs was exactly to my taste, so I knew I wanted to come to Thassos to dance with them some more.Thassos is an exquisitely beautiful little island, known since antiquity as the Emerald of the Aegean. Abundant water and varied forests give it a lushness and beauty very different from the dry, austere beauty typical of most Greek islands. At Aliki where we danced under the shade of olive trees, there are quiet beaches and calm bays as well as archaeological sites including temple ruins, ancient marble quarries and an early Christian basilica, all overlooked by Mount Athos across the water.
We had the blessing of live music every day and night, with Panayiotis Zikidis and other members of Methorios. Other musicians dropped by regularly, both locals and friends from Thrace and Macedonia, so it was really a feast of music and dance. Babis' teaching is a delightful combination of crystal-clear authenticity and playful humour, wonderfully supported by Dimitris and Natassa, outstanding dancers as well as beacons of good cheer. It was a beautiful week of nonstop dancing and laughing, flawlessly organised by an experienced team.
I will be glad to see you there!
Photos by Dimitris Pashalides